What’s The Difference Between Face-Lift & Mini Face-Lift Surgery

One day we wake up and see all those annoying signs of aging like crows-feet and many women like me will start to think about Plastic Surgery and other procedures like A Face-Lift but there are so many choices and information it can be hard to know what to do and that’s why I went right to the source. I found so much useful information from Dr. Philip Schoenfeld . I Had to share it with you!

Facelift surgery can transform your whole look just by making strategic changes to the aging lower portion of the face. For some patients, up to a decade may be taken off of their appearance with one commonly requested surgery. Yet, different types of facelift procedures exist. If you’ve been thinking about this life-changing facial rejuvenation surgery, how can you decide which is for you?  Decide whether a traditional facelift or mini facelift is the right choice for your needs and your lifestyle.

What Is a Traditional Facelift?

When it comes to facial rejuvenation, the traditional facelift surgery has long reigned supreme. With over a century of history behind the procedure, the facelift has ranked as one of the most requested procedures for decades now.  The traditional approach to facelift surgery has evolved over the years to become more effective and deliver more dramatic results. What was once a skin-tightening procedure has now become the answer to many aging concerns of the lower portion of the face.

The traditional facelift is typically performed using either general anesthesia or local anesthesia with IV sedation. Incisions are placed along the hairline, carefully camouflaged by your own hair, and then continue around the ear and behind the earlobe. The placement of these incisions is carefully designed for each patient to avoid distorting the hair line or the sideburns while keeping them well concealed. Your surgeon will then manipulate the skin, muscle, soft tissue, and fat of the lower portion of the face to improve contour and create a more youthful appearance. Any excess fat and skin will be removed and the muscles will be tightened for better tone around the jawline.

How Does a Mini Facelift Differ?

While the traditional method of face-lift surgery remains as popular today as ever, that hasn’t stopped modern medical science from creating newer, less invasive approaches to accomplish the same anti-aging objectives.  The mini face-lift is one version that utilizes minimal incisions to perform the facelift. Fewer incisions mean both that there is less time needed for recovery and less dramatic results. Many of the facial plastic surgeons who perform this mini or weekend facelift recommend it for patients in their early fifties and younger who may require less drastic changes to repair the damage from aging.


The procedure is performed under local anesthesia with IV sedation, lasting only an hour to an hour and a half. One small incision is placed inside a natural crease in the skin in front of the ear. Next, a small amount of skin will be raised to give the surgeon access to the deeper tissues of the face. These tissues will be repositioned as needed before two permanent sutures are used to hold it into an upward position. Any excess skin is trimmed away and the incision is closed.

What Is the Recovery Like After Each Type of Facelift?

Following a traditional facelift, most patients are fitted with a special bandage and possibly two small drains to relieve excess fluids.  The facelift dressings are removed the day after your surgery and a small bandaged will replace it. This new dressing should be worn for one week after your surgery. All of your sutures and the bandage will be removed at a second postoperative visit at this time. You should expect to have some swelling, bruising, and redness that will last about two weeks.

It is normal to experience a sensation of tightness, numbness, and more subtle swelling that last for several months following surgery. During the beginning of your recovery, your surgeon will prescribe pain medications to help you manage your pain and discomfort. You will have other instructions postoperatively, including the use of ice packs to relieve swelling, keeping your head elevated when sitting and sleeping, avoiding aspirin and other blood-thinning agents, and avoiding alcohol and tobacco for a recommended amount of time.


On the other hand, recovering from a mini facelift takes far less time, with the whole process lasting about one week. You will experience milder swelling and bruise than that following a traditional facelift. Discomfort after a mini facelift is also very mild. The same techniques can be used to manage your pain and reduce swelling, but your recovery timeframe will be much shorter. It is for this reason that the mini facelift is often called the weekend facelift since many patients are able to plan their procedure around a weekend and miss only a few days of work.

How Can I Decide Which Is Right for Me?

If you’re looking for dramatic results that will make significant changes to your appearance, the traditional face-lift is the best way to accomplish your goals. You’ll definitely trade off a longer recovery time and more discomfort along the way, but once you’ve healed, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. For quicker results that are less intensive, especially if you are in the early stages of the aging process, then a mini facelift can give you what you need without necessitating a lengthy period of downtime on your couch. The best decision for you depends on many factors, especially what you envision as your ideal surgical outcome.


Dr. Philip Schoenfeld is the founder and Medical Director of RENU in Chevy Chase, Maryland and Washington DC metropolitan area. Dr. Schoenfeld is board-certified in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery.



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